The Department of Environmental Health Science conducts a diverse array of research that generates information critical for analysis of the health risks posed by the mixture of chemical and microbiological agents present in community and occupational settings.

Investigators within the department have received funding from state, federal and international organizations and agencies, including the U.S. National Institute of Cancer, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Agency for International Development, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Georgia Environmental Protection Division, Georgia Cancer Coalition, and Georgia Sea Program.

Specific areas of study include: 

• Air and Water Quality • Environmental ‘omics
• Aquatic Toxicology • Food Safety
• Cancer Etiology & Prevention • Global Environmental & Occupational Health
• Climate and Health • Industrial Hygiene
• Exposure and Risk Assessment • Microbial Ecology & Infectious Disease
• Environmental Chemistry • Oceans & Health
• Environment-Genetic Interactions & Interventions • Reproductive & Developmental Toxicology
• Environmental Microbiology

Research Facilities

The Department of Environmental Health Science (EHS) is housed in the Environmental Health Science Building on UGA’s South Campus (Building 1050 on the UGA Interactive Campus Map).  Our physical address, maps, and driving instructions can be found here.

The Environmental Health Science Building is approximately 7500 square-feet in size of which over half is laboratory space and the remainder is split between classroom and office space. In addition, EHS faculty members have their laboratories in the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences and Rhodes Animal Sciences Center.

The Department of Environmental Health Science houses office space for ten faculty members, two administrative staff, research staff, adjunct faculty, post-doctoral researchers, visiting scholars, and graduate students.

Facilities within the EHS include:

  • Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory 

    Analytical and mechanistic toxicology work is conducted in the Aquatic Toxicology Lab in room 305. This 700ft2 lab is equipped with a fume hood and bench space for conducting toxicity exposures, water quality analyses, extractions and sample preparations. The lab is equipped with an explosion-proof refrigerator, -80°C freezer, large drying oven, top-loading and analytical balances, lab and field pH meters, turbidity meter, refrigerated and micro-centrifuges, bath and probe sonicators, two Olympus SZX9 research-grade stereo microscopes, an Olympus BX40 compound microscope and digital cameras with digital analysis capability. Equipment is available for tissue, water and sediment extractions, metal digestions (CEM MARS 5 microwave digester) and biomarker extraction and analysis (Shimadzu 1600 UV-Visible spectrophotometer, FIGE Mapper system). Two 25 ft2 biological incubators with an adjustable photoperiod are available for the culture and exposure of aquatic invertebrates and larval fish. The lab has field sampling equipment (sediment core and petite ponar samplers) and YSI field meters for measuring DO, pH, conductivity and salinity.

    Contact: Dr. Marsha Black, PI

  • Animal Culture Laboratory

    Breeding cultures of fish and frogs are housed and maintained in the aquatic culture lab. This 348 ft2 room is equipped with a high-throughput tap water dechlorination system with microfiltration and UV polishing, and a 150 gallon head tank for dechlorinated water storage. PVC distribution systems for air and water provide temperature controlled, flow-through conditions to tanks and raceways of multiple sizes.

    Contact: Dr. Marsha Black, PI

  • Biomarker, Cancer Etiology and Prevention, and Mycotoxins Research Laboratories

    Rooms 304 and 306 in the EHS Building, Room 225B, and Room 226 in the Coverdell Building contain a biomarker research laboratory, a genomics and proteomics laboratory, a cell culture room (225B), and biospecimen repository space for conducting biomarkers research, cancer etiology and prevention studies, mechanic toxicological studies, and mycotoxins research. Animals, normal and cancer human cells, and human biospecimen (blood, urine, and tissues) were used in these laboratories for development and validation of carcinogen-specific biomarkers, molecular epidemiological studies, chemoprevention studies, and mechanic-driven molecular toxicological studies of mycotoxins. These laboratories are well-established with many pieces of equipment for analytical and biochemical analyses, including a Thermo LC/MSn system, ESA HPLC-CoulArray system, two Agilent HPLC systems (1100 and 1200) with autosampler, Diodearray UV detector, and Fluorescence detector, one Thermo HPLC system including autosampler, Diodearray UV detector, and Fluorescence detector; a Beckman Coulter UV/VIS spectrophotometers ( DU800), a 96 well microplate reader for ELISA, a Labco speed vacuum system, a chromatography cool cabinet, a flourometer, multiple centrifuges, and microanalytical balance. Laboratories in Coverdell Building also equipped with a Fast Real Time 7500 PCR system, two regular PCR machines, an image system, 1- and 2-D gel facilities for genotypic and proteomic analysis. The cell culture facility including a culture hood, two CO2 incubators, and an Olympus inverted microscope can conduct researches on human liver, esophageal, lung, breast, and prostate cells studies. The biospecimen repository equipped with six Reveco -80’C freezers two -20 °C freezers and crytogenic facility has provided good resources for storage of human cells and biospecimen.

    Contact: Dr. J.S. Wang, PI

  • Environmental Exposure Assessment and Air Quality Laboratories

    The Air Quality Laboratory is used to stage field studies, process air quality samples, and maintain and store air sampling equipment. Rooms 126 and 103 in the EHS building are dedicated primarily for research in air quality and environmental exposure assessment. The air quality lab (room 126) is outfitted with a standard wet lab facility and a freezer to store environmental samples. It also has a small climate-controlled room attached to it that is outfitted with an analytical balance (Cahn 35 electro-microbalance) used to weigh filters for air monitoring research. The main portion of the laboratory is 350 ft2 and accommodates experiments in both traditional exposure assessment using environmental and biological samples, and environmental epidemiology. The lab has four computer workstations for data reduction and analysis for environmental exposure assessments and storage space for field instrumentation. Additional field instruments for air quality research (cyclone pumps, high capacity filter units, etc.) are stored in the EHS storage room (105E; 306 ft2). The lab includes a dedicated and climate-controlled room for high-precision gravimetric analysis of fine particle samples. Specialized equipment for conducting research in air quality include a variety of particle and gas sampling systems such as the Federal Reference Method samplers for PM2.5, inertial impactors, and cyclones, as well as a host of absorption samplers for gases and aerosols.

    Contact: Dr. Luke Naeher, PI

  • Environmental Genomics and Toxicology Laboratories

    The environmental genomics and toxicology laboratory, Room 300, is a 549 ft2 lab that was renovated with a gift from the Georgia Power Company. This lab is equipped with a chemical fume hood, biological safety cabinet, incubators, microscopes and specialized computer tracking equipment for performing toxicological research using the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. In addition to traditional toxicology work, genomic and toxicogenomic capabilities are also available. Pre-PCR methods (DNA/RNA extractions, etc.) are conducted in room 300 using pipettors, centrifuges and other small equipment needed for DNA extraction and setting up PCR reactions. PCR and post-PCR experiments are conducted in room 120, an 865 ft2 teaching laboratory, along with room 130, a 205 ft2 research laboratory, with shared instrumentation (e.g., DNA thermocyclers, a real-time PCR system, gel electrophoresis systems, power supplies, centrifuges, freezers and a photodocumentation system). EHS researchers also make extensive use of the Georgia Genomics Facility (GGF; a shared core laboratory at UGA with >3500 ft2 of space and >$1.5 M in instrumentation; see: http://dna.uga.edu).

    Contact: Dr. Travis Glenn, PI

  • Environmental Microbiology and Molecular Microbiology Laboratories

    The environmental and molecular microbiology laboratories in the Environmental Health Science Department are equipped for running routine microbiological assays as well as modern techniques for detection, enumeration and community analysis. Labs include a primary workspace, space for epifluoresence microscopy, multiple conventional thermocyclers and real time PCR machines and a CHEF DR II rig for PFGE fingerprinting, a dedicated clean room and workstations for molecular work, and a dedicated lab for post-PCR processing.

    Contact: Dr. Erin Lipp, PI

  • Molecular Toxicology Laboratory

    The molecular toxicology laboratory is located in the state-of-the-art Coverdell Center for Biomedical Research with approximately 1,000 square feet. The laboratory is dedicated to the molecular toxicological studies, containing major equipment for its research, such as cell culture facility, phase-contrast microscopes, cell culture incubators, water bath Isotemp 120, one -80 °C freezers, one -20 °C refrigerators, Sorvall Legend Microcentrifuge [LEG X1RTC]. PCR work bench station, NanoDrop ND-1000 Spectrophotometer for RNA/DNA quantification, Biorad C1000 Touch 96 Wells w/Gradient PCR Equipment and Biorad Real-time RT-PCR CFX96 Touch system are available for genomic analysis. The Coverdell Building has an approximately 20,000 sq. ft vivarium to house rodents. In this facility of nearly 20,000 square feet, rodents are housed in individually ventilated racks with automated watering.

    Contact: Dr. Xiaozhong “John” Yu, PI

  • Teaching Laboratory

    EHS also has an 865 ft2 teaching laboratory with bench space for 18 students. This teaching lab is equipped with two fume hoods, a biosafety cabinet, an autoclave and an 83 ft2 storage/lab preparatory room. Wet labs are offered as part of core and elective courses in all EHS degree programs. The teaching lab provides bench space and equipment to support training in environmental microbiology, aquatic toxicology, environmental biotechnology, industrial hygiene and environmental chemistry.